Her Name was Grace
“But God proves God’s love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
My Mom’s older sister outlived her by forty years. She never had children, but she doted on my brother and sister and me.
One of her abiding principles was fairness. If she gave something to one of us, she would make sure she gave something equivalent to all of us. She was fair.
Children learn to spot unfairness pretty quickly. “That’s not fair!” can be heard on any playground, and rightfully so, since fairness is an important part of what makes any society workable, be it the small society of a school playground or the large one of a nation.
So it was that many who heard Jesus’s teachings were scandalized by his assertion that the divine economy works on another principle. It is all about grace, which by definition is unfair, because the recipients of the gift are undeserving.
Recall his parable of the workers in the vineyard? Jesus says the ones who came late will get paid the same as the ones who worked all day. “That’s not fair!” Try explaining that policy to either union or management.
The waiting father runs out to greet his prodigal son and throws him a big party. “That’s not fair!”
Paul wrote to the Romans, “While we still were sinners Christ died for us.” So is God’s love unfair? You bet it is, and it’s a good thing too, for who among us deserves such love? Even my aunt understood this good news. After all, her name was Grace.
Loving God, we thank you that you run to greet us even when we have run away from you.
Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. A writer and author, his most recent publications are Romans, Parts 1 and 2 (with Michael S. Bennett), new titles in the “Listen Up!” Bible Study Series. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.